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The Youth

Whether what I will say in this post is true or not is arguable, I am not a sociologist, but I do consider myself to be quite observant. Agreeing or disagreeing with my perspective is up to you, but I do feel like this is quite the benched topic that people should be more aware of; people need to address the needs and effects of parenting on the youth. Maybe I am late to realizing the mistakes that some parents have made, but at the end of the line, it is all just different angles and ideas to explore. Please do keep in mind that I will generalize a bit only to try and get my point across, so save me the need to apologize while trying to remain politically correct for the sake of hyper-sensitive nitpicks.

So without further ado… to the rant-mobile!

*runs and trips*

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Does being led through your entire youth hinder the country’s growth?

I think that the pattern of follow and memorize is a part of a good chunk of the population’s lives. While I do believe in respecting your elders and learning from them, I also believe (and quite strongly so) that it has slowly reached the point of selfish/controlling/hard-headed elders abusing the youth to do their bidding without considering the fact that they also have ideas that can change things to the better.

Blindly following orders/traditions/religions/television/Hollywood/crowds is a hindrance to “moving forward”. In that sense, tradition-stuck elders are a hindrance as well. Mind you, I am not speaking about traditions that define how something is to be done, but rather those that restrict what you can do.

Traditional ideas like being pressured into marriage, being pressured into being an engineer or doctor (because prime marriage material), not working unless it is an esteemed job that can be bragged about, not being an artist (because money is the spice of- nope), not walking (what are you, some sort of animal?), driving (because what would you talk about?). Well, anyway, I guess you get the point. Telling the youth what to do only makes them despise what they are forced into, especially if they are/were passionate about it. But alas, it is not good enough, what would the people say? I think this attitude of denying the youth of what they want to do can in some case make them bitter towards others, and can slowly drain them of their energy/passion towards anything, because the brain just avoids that idea all together, and it gets accustomed to being denied that dream (just a thought, really).

Some cases end up with the youth being unable to comfortably dedicate themselves to what they wish to pursue, which can lead to a lower standard in entertainment/craftsmanship, which in turn could also weaken the creative economy of the country. In a way, the lack of dedication eliminates a lot of potential creativity from making it onto the market (but thank you internet), and this in turn lowers the standards because of the lack of competition. Lack of competition leads to the fat champion who thinks he is at the top of his game, when, in reality, he is not even of the average group. But since nobody is trying to compete with such a heavy mass, to push him off the throne, we end up stuck with the Haifa Wehbe and Tamer Hosni among the other “greats” of the plastic image with a synth voice (and not good synth like dubstep or whatever, just unrecycled, unusable, radioactive waste) age.

Good thing there are some musicians who are able to contest with the “best” now, despite television still being hung-up on the “better days” of 60-year-old belly dancers and stale “performers” that rely on a shock factor to make a name for themselves. So things are starting to look up, and people who dared were actually able to inspire a new generation (that sings about nothing but love).

Maybe soon, more investors would get to them, and would let artists make some money with their work, so that their parents can approve of their lifestyle. To an extent, I think the youth should break away and be able to support each other in order to help the country grow, rather than follow a blind guardian based on his experience and scriptures from generations ago. Rebellion is what creates change, and change is always led by art, but who will invest in the generation but the members themselves.

Of course I might be wrong; maybe this whole issue with being forced to follow is to encourage the spirit of rebellion, I mean it is only natural that out of all the people being led through “their” lives, a few would not agree and take the other path; push someone into something, and they would push back to control the pace or to put the movement to a halt, and on the other hand, leave them hanging and they would ask for directions. So maybe give them a choice, no? The youth has access to the roots of the upcoming culture, and they would know what the future needs. At that point, the power and will of that generation would stand strong and allow for them to grow and invest in themselves. Maybe the older generations just want us to challenge ourselves and not give up, maybe we just have to show them that we have what it takes to take control over the mistakes they made; that we have what it takes to take over the tribe/pride.

Pushing the youth into a direction would only create resentment/frustration, in my opinion.

Maybe it is all just an inherited will, and what happens to you, you do to others, because that is the only secure way you know. But I believe it is time for the newer generation to get a say in what goes on in our country.

I have no idea how to make a good outro for this rant…

Bye.

…..

Umm…

Support local artists, kids. And do not start smoking tobacco, It is bad for you, and it is harder to quit it than to avoid it.

Ah, crap I have to tag and categorize the post now…

…..

I guess,

WCH

Heroes

Just a piece I wrote a while back that I wanted to make into a song.

Yeah, yeah, it’s just some poetry. But I have a duty to post something since I didn’t post anything last week (especially since what I tried to post just crumbled into meaningless words).

Anyway, maybe you enjoy poetry.

Cheers!

…..

An idea lost, yet
Another gained;

Lost in a mind twisted,
with none to blame.

And our time of clarity,
well it never came;

But now I know what
they never dared to say.

…..

If I knew then, what I
know now, then I would have
dreamed longer so I could…

Be a hero.

…..

Everyday in a city
to the west,

People silently watching
the world in stress.

After a day of struggle and a
hopeless divine test,

Comes a man to clean
up the mess.

…..

Well he won’t come, and I
know now that I am
the observer in silence.

And I know all the wishes
of open seas, sails, and fishin’
are just regrets…

Of a hero.

…..

Remember dreams remember
how it once felt;

Feeling you’re chosen before believing
in yourself.

Time to break away, time
to grow up, child;

You can’t change your past,
and you sure can’t change mine.

…..

But oh stop being a villain;
look at all those blessed things that you’re given.
Why can’t you see?

From the bottom he’s risen;
bitter, trashed, sadly living but given:
scars…

Of a hero.

…..

I guess,

WCH

Sharing and Creating

Well the snow last week is no longer ruining our Jordanian lives! Although, as usual, there are rumors going around about snow coming next week. But what the hell do I know I’m just trying to write an introduction rather than slapping my idea in your face in the form of a question like some sort of cultist telemarketer.

Anyway, just so you know, I enjoy ‘splorin’ ideas, and this isn’t based on much research. So you can leave a complaint if you want, but I won’t read it if it’s stupid or judgmental.

Because we all know the scale is silly < dumb < stupid < judgmental idiot < dense, so you know…
… Science… *cough*

Unfunny, try-hard intro sketch… check…

Now an article!

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Is over-sharing suppressing our creative drive?

What pushes you to say something if it’s all being said for you, and all you have to do is “click to feel”? I know it sounds pretty stupid and generalized, because it sort of is, but the essence makes sense in a way, I think. You’re driven towards a goal, then you just watch someone do it pretty well and you just feel satisfied afterwards (that’s the generalization, others would get motivated), and you feel like you did something for attaining the goal, satisfied and pumped with adrenaline for each like, fave, or re-tweet you get; it’s like you get rewarded for absolutely nothing, and I think it can become a habit maybe.

Share beautiful words to speak about things you could not, sharing majestic pictures to experience being there rather than having the drive and curiosity, statuses about how pissed you are rather than learning a bit of self-control and doing something about it. And here’s the thing, I do share; I share things I like or that I think can support certain things, and you could go and say “Ah, Saed, you’re a Self-damned hypocrite”, and I disrespectfully agree with you, just let me say this:

Don’t you think that if nobody was saying things that express you, that more people would work harder just to express themselves? Don’t you think that it would make them feel their ideas more and work harder to put them out there? Don’t you think that even fosters a sort of intimate relationship with your ideas, that could potentially help them grow and mature into something else?

Those silly, clingy ideas, eh?

Anyway, yes, awareness, learning about new things, a load of inspiration, and seeing new perspectives are all wonderful sharing perks, I know. Don’t stick yourself in a ditch and blame the blogging hippie on the internet for it, what I’m saying is don’t stop creating. I’m exploring the idea of “sharing so much, that you don’t have to create anymore”, I think it could ruin your ability to create in a way.

Maybe after a while of over-sharing, your brain stops being stimulated by what it sees as much, and all the over-flowing incoming influences just clog up the stream of ideas, because you don’t take them into yourself, but they just lay there unorganized. In that sense it’s logical when anyone says “boredom is the mother of creativity”. Maybe just letting things sink in to your brain would help, rather than having a ton of ideas that over-drive your mind.

Mind you, I have no idea if what I say is true (shocking).This idea of lower creativity would probably exist in hyper-sharing individuals or something, I just think it would do people some good if they went out of their way every now and then to do something creative or to express something in their own way; not for likes, but to explore what they themselves can do, and to see their own potential and ability. Man, that sounds cheesy…

Then again, that’s why there’s a market for art, right?

Well that sure sticks my ideas in the eye doesn’t it? Still, it does not mean you can’t create if you consume, and no art is “worse” because of its maker not being a full-fledged artist. Heck, don’t you like having someone make you a present? I think it shows more effort and care, and I still have all the cards people gave me a long time ago along with their presents, because it’s just more heartfelt that way.

Anyway, no art is worse because it’s less popular or something. This is especially true in our time due to (almost) everything becoming more affordable for (almost) every hobby. Sure a part of why that is so, is due to wanting to milk the potential cash out of (almost) every possible person in the market, but it’s also to give people the ability to do what they want, and to (F$%#!NG) enjoy it. Because, like spam, someone out of all the potential people buying “hobby-ware” (cool name for a shop, actually) will stick around and maybe even go pro, and give more money to the industry. But I digress (shocking).

We need locally-made equipment for pride and price reasons, or just any affordable equipment at least (that isn’t horribly made), to push the creativity of people, and sort of encourage them and give them the option. And of course, we would need public schools to start incorporating more creativity, and making school a less dreaded place where kids can actually do something recreational they enjoy, other than joyfully slapping books onto their heads until they get some memorized logic in there.

Everyone can be creative, given the tools. So it’s just a matter of initiative and courage; not being afraid to suck.

…..

I guess,

WCH

Obligatory Ammani Snow-day Post

Aww but moooooom~…!

Nope, you have to, it’s tradition now. Just like the many illogical traditions we have, discussing snow in every conversation you ever have (before, after, or during said snow period) is an absolute must!

“But Saed I-”

“(s)NO(w)!”

Heheh… get it? No? Snow? Heh… Alright I’ll show myself out…

Anyhow, just like being pestered about getting married, getting a job, letting go of every dream, and becoming a doctor, you have to make a big deal out of snow. You just do. Why? I haven’t the foggiest.

Sure I can talk about how illogical it is, and how absolutely ridiculous people become when they go out in the middle of the damn blizzard like they’re on Jackass (the show, not the animal), then complain about not getting help; but that’s all part of the charm isn’t it?

Hail and foggy chaos with people scuttering home only to go back out later like children, unlike being at home and worrying about what to do, households watching the weather forecast 10 times a day, people whining about how everyone is making a big deal out of it, others saying it won’t snow nor hold (stick to the ground) so as not to jinx it. It’s all just a big fest for everyone, for some reason; it’s like a god-sent day off for Jordanians, and I am yet to find someone who seriously hates snow days in Jordan.

And at the end of it all, even after going out to play with the snow or whatever, you warm up at home with a nice cup of coffee and marvel at the beauty of the little fluffy water feathers floating along the wind. Except for the little poop who decides to go outside and walk in the snow and ruin the view for everyone else. But that’s life isn’t it? Just nature, with our footsteps in it, which then becomes snirt (source, “Snirt: Snow mixed with dirt”), and Amman goes back to being Amman. It’s all just part of Jordan’s charm; its people and their lack of logic.

…..

Cheers,

WCH

Surprise Bus-es!

Well I’ve been away for a while, it was a sort of a break, I guess. I wouldn’t say a holiday or anything like that, it was just a “man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do” thing, really (bada-boom, bada-bing, eh, tony?).

If I ever want this blog to be anything I would have to be a bit more consistent with the weekly Friday posts. But fear not! I actually wrote a bunch of articles while umm…. nothing. I just wrote a bunch of drafts whenever I got ideas for posts. So I might post an extra piece sometime, but hey… hey, no I probably won’t, but I might. Going back to consistency is enough for now, right?

On with the show!

I guess to an extent I want the blog to be more serious and urban oriented, but I can’t seem to shake the comical tone out of my writing sometimes, and I hope you don’t let the tone disregard the ideas in the pieces, I’m not joking, I just like writing this way to make it fun. I do have other drafts that concern other ideas, but this draft started as a rant, and dammit I will rant about Amman and buses (read as “be-ooze-is” for funsies).

Oh and I really hope you get the joke in the title, I giggled at it for a good 3 seconds.

…..

You know why we have a traffic problem? Because I would personally rather keep anyone I care about off the streets, where they would be endangered by rushing drivers or harassed by loitering drones misled by societal habits, or be left to waste time as they attempt to go home (I dare say) without a car. I think there are about 40% of the population who believe the same.

I think the authorities are trying to make people get off their cars, if they are not, then less-experienced fresh-graduates are more aware than they are (given that universities do teach about the importance of public realms rather than the mere “will” of a client). But I really doubt anyone could just not know things when they are in such positions of power, I think they know what needs to be done. Could they really not know? Am I jut being wishful when I say that? I just can’t comprehend the idea of people in power being ignorant, it’s just wrong.

I think the authorities at least know a bit about what they’re doing. Unlike many Ammanis, who always seem to think they know better than officials; who often overlook their own mistakes and cuss at others from behind their windshields (or fists if it gets really serious). Many in our society just tend to underestimate others, believing that their thoughts are the most relevant and correct, and that others (in this case: power figures) have no idea what they’re doing, when a lot of the time it just seems like baseless bashing, due to a lack of research. What I’m trying to say, is that many bash Jordan’s power figures, but why do you really think they’re so utterly stupid and villainous? Maybe the authorities are just out-dated, I really think so. Isn’t it time that the newer generations start running things along with the pas and mas? Or is it just out of the norm, that older, more experienced (and egotistical) people can be corrected by a potential-leaking youth?

Anyway, I think that to an extent, the authorities have an idea about what to do, this post is more about public transportation, not politics. Here’s what I think they’re trying to do:

  1. Make people follow the law by making it more risky to break it. Simple idea. Then again, how do you stop the traffic congestion from making breaking the law the best way out?
  2. Make it less feasible to drive cars everywhere, so as to make using public transportation more viable, which can be done by increasing the cost of gasoline. This, however, does not work if the public transportation is much less comfortable and unbearably unreliable, and has the clarity of a cup of coffee from a vengeful-looking coffee vendor, i.e. it looks dirty but you don’t know if it really is, I mean is it wet then dried dust or finger cheese on the handle? Why is the seat so black? Anyway, people just can’t put a price on their family’s safety/comfort, public transportation is just way too much of a hassle.
  3. Nope, that was it; that’s all that seems to be done. They did try making some street ads with a bus filled with “happy”, cartoony people saying that buses are better for you and your family. But come on, is that all?

Actions speak louder than words, and actions don’t show anything about improving public transit. Even the “Fast Bus” project (الباص السريع), in my opinion, is extremely wasteful and has was an unreasonable idea compared to fixing and organizing existing buses first. At least a bit of organization of the existing transit system would reduce some of the stress on the streets, and would make space for the damn “fast bus lane”, but the way it was about to be done near the Jordanian University just seemed like it’s an impatient attempt at fixing the whole problem instantly (impossible, don’t you think? It’s a lot deeper than that). Instead of wasting (maybe that’s a subjective choice of word, but I think it was a waste) all that money on a poorly studied attempt, they could have paid for more bus drivers to fill in time gaps, or to create settlements with private buses who don’t really have a schedule at all, to kind of get them on their side, maybe even provide service to areas with no easy/affordable connection to the city. But why didn’t they?

I find it strange really, especially since in recent years, and with the “green uprising” public transportation has become key in fixing existing social and traffic problems, I don’t get where the investment in the public realm is, it should be the best time for it, unless they’re just waiting for “security problems” to pass or something, such that their transparency about their plans would not mean more risk but more trust from the public. Truth is, nobody is going to invest in public transportation, the government has to do it for its own well-being, and it’s about time that government-provided facilities become cleaner and more efficient than privatized, over-priced, and polarizing ones.

Well those were my 2 groosh.

We’ll see what happens in the future, I guess, I’ll just assume and think about it until I find out if my thoughts made sense.

…Or perhaps I’m pushing so hard to put happenings into perfect sense, it’s just producing pretexts to poorly pondered planning policies.

…..

Cheers,

WCH

School

Some things just don’t change.

Patterns. Patterns like: “go outside, play, talk, mock, hang out” become “go outside, smoke, talk, gossip, hang out.”

It’s like none of us really grow up after all. Growing up doesn’t really change you, does it? It just exchanges habits with other habits, that’s why it’s so important to grow up with good habits. Oh and please do excuse my using the informal tongue in this piece, but it just felt right. Right?

Right!

But yeah, we really don’t change much when we “grow up”, I mean as a kid I thought people talking about economics are boring (usually 20 or 30 years older than me), but it’s just really what’s “in” to talk about. It’s nothing new, instead of talking about new happenings on a small scale (your personal universe of school), you talk about news (politics, kids, don’t let it touch you).

You really just realize how small the world is, we really don’t grow that much after all the hype that adults build for kids, the hype is just concerning dirty adult jokes and alcohol (blessed be, alcohol, totally worth growing up), but it’s just like the the city is an expansion/extension of the school playgrounds. I guess that kind of highlights schools’ importance in setting the atmosphere for the rest of the city. I don’t mean it literally nor architecturally/design-wise, but by the people it produces and how they all interact with others. It’s no coincidence that all bad schools are in bad neighborhoods (most of the time), because the school itself (in my humble dumb opinion) produces the neighborhood.

Perhaps it all comes down to if the economic systems are ready for less trouble/less low-class people to carry out the city’s dirty bidding.

I mean I’m pretty sure everyone knows that schools are the basis of societal interactions, it’s not really a mystery, it just takes someone to point it out for you to gasp and say “I knew that, how didn’t I consider it as such an important factor?”. I just think that politicians do not see that the world is ready for 100% educated people, especially since (in Jordan) hard labor is seen as -I’m just gonna call it- icky. Calloused hands? Gross! Go study and manage people, be a boss! But truth is, we really do need to appreciate hard labor as much as the manager, probably even more, because they are the literal force that move the country’s economy, and the less you appreciate them, the more they’ll shift to other “groups” (maybe even cults) that give them more appreciation in one way or another.

I just think we owe it to some people, to appreciate them before they depreciate you (hah… Get it? Because they can literally depreciate your e-… never mind), but I digress.

Schools can literally drive your entire social system. A great example is how Germans teach their kids tolerance at a young age, and (while there are of course some deviants from the respectful norm) their society is pretty respectful and humane (and you know it). They’re also a huge economic force because of the fact that even a common “hard-laborer” is given the appreciation she/he deserves (through money, because that’s how you show appreciation in our time… no amount of feasts and coffee can sustain a family enough, unfortunately).

Schools are the heart of society, and everyone has to understand that. The school builds society, since it has the direct input of the government. While society can affect it, governments have a direct access to people through a school system, and thus must take advantage of that.

But hey… are you ready to be common? Are you ready to become as appreciated as those who do manual labor? Would you accept seeing them next to you in a pub, Amman? Do you see the value of others from your pedestal? Is it really something we hate, having so many people that are “lower” than we are?

Are you able to put your ego down to see others to discuss with? Or are you happy in our circle-jerk society? Believing they are better, and disregarding the fact that you are at a huge advantage when compared to others? Not considering the cultural difference, can you live your city the way someone who has nothing to lose does?

Would you enjoy living with carbon copies of yourself, having nobody to consider inferior to yourself? Are you educated enough to let go of your ego, Amman?

…..

Right…

WCH

Human Adaptation

So, good news, imaginary readers, the Working Class Hippie is now officially part of the work-force: an Architect/Urban Designer. Na’ ain’ ‘at somefin’! That’s all for the update, here’s something I wrote while reading urban articles at work until I got a task. Might seem a bit redundant, I’m pretty sure I mentioned the idea of humans being just as evolutionary as other species, but with more complexity, so this piece takes on that idea from another perspective.

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“The goal should be to use social/ecological dynamics that are flexible for futures we can’t imagine”
– Chris Reed

The past two decades consisted of Urbanism merely trying to integrate new technologies into its “normal/common” form. With these attempts, and the awareness of needing to be more “green” and environmentally friendly, our “growth” has been hindered due to having more to incorporate. We now know that the future of Urbanism is as complex as any living organism, and not as simple as we once believed as we threw concepts from the sky and forced people to follow them; therefore we need a lot of time until all the forces (of the many schools of thought – each with its own set of pros and cons) balance out, to evolve the city into an organism with its own logic and balanced existence within the ecosystem. This will have to be localized for every region in order to be truly balanced in its existence within nature, rather than a set mold of materials and borrowed standards; it would have to start as an adaptation, and must continue to adapt with the rising technologies to perfect itself. The rush to catch up with the other powers is forcing us into pushing through time while leaving many behind who do, in time, pull us back, as they are left in the dark, not knowing where nor why we are going in a certain direction (I would say the increasing cost of gasoline is a good example, despite the lack of follow-up on the public transportation side).

Colonization has failed to understand locality and mutated the existing architecture and urban habits into imported and misunderstood logic; however, with new technological advances, the adaptation is able to continue, since they can be utilized to more intricately adapt, and the technologies to survive with less environmental impact is available for almost every location on earth.

So based on that quote, I would say that nothing is more flexible than evolution/adaptation.

This adaptation would not only be based on natural forces, but ecological forces, including the forces of society and humanity. The organisms (people) that use the space are just as important as the organism (plants,nature, urban fabric) being affected by it. Natural selection would even be the elimination of that which does not allow our survival, such as bad architecture, poor planning, and technologies that hurt the environment; this already happens naturally within society, with those who threaten the well-being of mankind being shunned away in prisons to preserve the survivability of the species. In a way, all of mankind’s history has been a natural adaptation (leading to an evolution), as every change in the past was in one way or another brought forth via new technologies and discoveries about ourselves and our relationship with the world around us. In other words, adapting to new-found technologies and discoveries are a natural step forward.

Arguments about what is good/bad for our world; what looks nice and what does not; people’s obsession with Kim Kardashian’s bum and those calling bum-groupies silly; are all part of the natural evolution of mankind and our growth in tiny proportions, forming a larger image. While many believe a larger image removes our individuality, truth is, change begins with single units and changes slowly, cascading along the facade of humanity, shifting, breaking, changing color, and the waves created by all the changes are what propel us forward, all due to the tiny inner-workings that make it all happen.

When people discovered that they can cultivate land, they did, and it changed the way we think of shelters. It led to many of the early settlements being near a body of water in order to better sustain themselves. Now that we see green technologies that would help us better sustain ourselves, we should logically adapt and “go green”, since it allows our use of resources to be more efficient, thus allowing us to “last longer” [no innuendo here, move along…]. Greed, I guess, would play a part in preventing this adaptation, in order to maintain income for those with the most capital and benefits from the current systems that should naturally be left out, since they do not help the betterment of mankind anymore. There are discoveries being made about the surroundings we live in (cities, natural resources) that were cut off from Nature in order to maintain the “balanced” system that we are all living in, but these systems (physical and political) are slowly becoming more obsolete and are in desperate need of change, especially since they are proving to be hurtful to nature.

I believe that is how we should be viewing Urbanism right now, and probably for a long time: without the constraints of groups, schools of thought, and conceptual prose, but with logic, and a mind open to understanding the many hands that shape our world. It is an ecosystem and should be treated as one, from the smallest detail to the entire surface of the Earth.

…..

I guess,

Saed

November 9th, 2005

Nine years ago, on the 9th of November, Amman was bombed at (as I recall) 2 hotels. Back then, everyone called anyone they know to make sure they were okay. Classmates, family members. I do not remember why it happened nor who was behind it, nor whether anyone knew anything about it afterwards for that matter, but Amman was shook that day.

Yet somehow, after 9 years, even a year later, people remember this incident less and less. Maybe it is all just a testament to how strong we are, or how strongly we believe in our security. I had a few people on my Facebook feed condoling American victims of September 11, forgetting about how we, too, were threatened and probably even more so now than ever before.

Do not misunderstand me, the apology is a nice, meaningful gesture I think; since suffering was caused by the hands of people who were in a way or another related to us as a culture (since Islam now has a horrible image attached to it), the apology as a plead for the world away from the Middle East to see that there is also good in the people in the region is a nice thing. The apology celebrates the good and hangs on to it, hoping that the world does not forget the image of us once being pioneers of science, not just religion.

Anyway, that being said, why is it that nobody even mentions the bombings that happened in Amman? Have we grown to hate our own country to that extent, or are we merely just calling everything a conspiracy theory like we do about everything else? Are we just detached from any sense of belonging due to having to scrape by to survive? Are we too attached to other things and forgetting to empathize with our fellow countrymen? Must we be impacted by something directly to remember it? Are we just taking our security for granted?

Maybe I’m just over-thinking and we, as a people, just tend to not express much.

It could be a lot of things really, to each their own, and this is mine.

As a child who grew up in this country and tumbled down its hills’ stairs, skinned his knees on its pavement playing football, celebrated snow by taking days off, and watched its plastic bags fly above her/his head and gave it a name: This post is to pay my respect to all those who suffered due to the horrible incidents in Amman 9 years ago and to everyone who helped keep the country secure afterwards. Here’s to your survival as a peaceful haven among chaos, Jordan, and here’s to your charm and the negatives in you that we all love to criticize.

… And may our sewage be fixed this winter (I had to).

 

…..

 

Cheers

 

WCH

Perfect Imbalance

So I found this one lying around in my drafts, and I really do believe in its idea in one way or another, but I’ll just disrespectfully agree with whatever you think, if that’s what your mind likes. Sadly it has been writer’s block this week (especially since I get some nice and beefy poetic ideas, but then forget to write them down somewhere) so I just tossed myself into previous half-done pieces. It was that bad.

Anyway, I hope it’s thought-provoking and interesting to you as it was for me while I was tip-tapping it away on my keyboard. Have fun.

Disclaimer:

This essay does not support any political side – because politics are games of apes using “civilized” tools -, it merely points out facts and theories to be held over our society as a magnifying glass for an up-down planner’s view of our current situation, and those to come. The purpose is for better-understanding, and critical, deeper thinking before bearing sticks and phones for a demonstration.

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After going through a “rough break-up” and the colonization, the Arab world has seen a range of scenes and historical moments in the last century that many other cultures/regions have witnessed over a course of centuries. Perhaps we lagged on a global scale due to our materialistic detachment from the fleeting, rough, yet constant land, or our attachment (emotionally and even physically) to our tribes, or perhaps it is due to our stability in the Islamic times, but we have managed to catch up industrially, again on a global (foreign) scale. Although we had a previous safe and booming nation, our technologies were not technologies as they are thought of in our time. Looking back at our marvels as an Islamic nation, we had green local technologies which worked for us and a society with its own mind and body, almost like a fantasy novel or the eco-friendly, peaceful elf tribe with a grand, majestic leader. But alas, this is being written with a foreign language, using foreign technologies; our ways were not up to par with other, more “advanced” societies. The mud and stone buildings might have been interesting but they were neither slick nor fast enough for the others. Inter-cultural communication was non-existent as most cultures were similar, and we were the second (after the Native Americans) to face the almost-peaceful takeover. The balance in the nation was disturbed, and while that was inevitable, the breakup of the country led to a large difference in resource availability, leading to inter-Levant communications as different powers with different agenda, political interventions, and foreign aids with different agenda. “Are we driven or driving?” is not the question, as we were driven into another direction. Just as ideas spill over each other to create new perceptions and ideas, as well as open and closed doors, being driven has turned our world around and has resulted in many good and bad results.

We were driven by the earth’s humble environment into our current situation, the earth was driven by the sun, the sun was driven… well, then we reach a line where people argue who put what where, so in that sense, it is something out of our reach, so it is out of question, but we are driven by default. However, even as humans, one can say that we are driven by our god or sub-consciousness, again, a “who put what where” situation. That is why, the only things we are (almost) sure of being in control of are our actions, due to our conscious act in most of them. Even though our environment has put our thoughts in our head, we do still have control over what we do with those results.

The thing about our culture (and many religions and regions, as it played a huge part of creating it), however, is that we accept the fact that we are not completely in control. Islam literally means, surrendering control. “Is it a good or bad thing” is up for debate. Then again since the appearance of democracy, or rather “Hollywood democracy”, through globalization we are no longer accepting the fact that we are driven. It is not an easy thing to accept, as we do believe that we are all loved by each of our gods. Nevertheless, breaking away from our culture or from religion in general, while driven by yearning for freedom (as it is fed to us in its glorious box) is seen as a relatively bad deed, as people without religion are seen as people lacking morals. Beliefs are not enough to hold people accountable or trust them as before, people are not becoming more honest about their faith (or lack of it) as we slowly open up to American ideas of freedom. To some it breaks our social fabric into cogs and screws which have no life but only work for a production machine, while to others, the fabric already is restraining, and the democracy brings freedom. One can safely say that the spilling of the idea of democracy is surely to shift the balance, and whole movement of globalization is shifting our scales, we are currently amidst a spill and mix of cultures, and it will take time for the mix to happen. The spill is driven by one side driving into the other, and it has its causes to do so; it is driven to do so by political agendas.

We are all being driven into each other and spilling, and the constant spilling is what gives us the meaning of existence; we are seeking to find the balance born of the war between ideas; to bring the present-at-hand to a ready-at-hand. It was once done with wars and now it is done with propaganda and ideas. We are all units, atoms, that help to make the whole a reality; indicators for the planners of our fate, the drivers of our city. Criminals are suspended so as not to throw the system out of control, the numbers of people and statistics are studied to know how to deal with the change of situation, the residents are provided with “food” and things to keep them motivated. It does seem negative, yet it is the nature of a city, it is even the natural behavior of mammals to stick together and members do their “jobs”. It sounds brutal to the observer, but it is only for allowing certain human tendencies to take control; while we like belonging to something, we also like to be individuals. This contradicts the contemporary products and media which push for special people who save the world and celebrities who have money and live the beautiful life. It motivates people, and the products help make people feel special, but what about the cold truth that we are part of a collective and only contribute simple parts that many can do?

The individuality aspect that people yearn for shines through art and special commodities to display publicly. For the more fortunate it is custom-made objects that give meaning, while for poor people it is art (theoretically). Take Europe for example, where the most renowned renaissance personalities are poor and did their art in the streets or by barely getting by and having support, furthermore, they truly lived the city as a bourgeois never could; they were the “derive” of their time. In our region, collectivity is superior, and those seeking individuality are outcasts; like those with long hair or special fancy cars. The derive are marked as “nawar”. However, the nawar are low-class people with many of their ability hindered by their living situations. Back in the renaissance people could go by, and would not have that many expectations, such as “be a doctor/engineer/architect”. Jordan’s derive have no ability to express themselves, and must do what they can to help the collective and survive. The rest of the country’s classes benefit from having people lower than them to add drama to their lives and anecdotes for colleagues while they live their educated lives travelling in their boxes and avoiding confrontation. However there is the middle class who is currently creating life in the art scene and expressing themselves. While the people in the lower class can make a choice to create art, they are not given the push to create it; they are driven into the circumstances which force them to choose survival over art. Another possible situation that they are driven into is the fact that they do not quite know how to create art, nor do their families see art as something worthwhile as a way to bring food to the table or to maintain a shelter.

Maybe it is all planned, since it is possible due to much psychological, sociological, and scientific advancement. We do have a choice of controlling the drivers below us in the hierarchy, and working on that, we are able to do so. Although it is governed by a “higher power”, we do have a degree of control and responsibility in our positions. We are a system that works together, and we can use our knowledge to fix and add at the right spots in order to make a move in our system. Those who wish for change and those who hold the opposite opinion are two forces we need to keep a pulse fluctuating in the system. The lack of understanding creates a misinterpretation of people and their motives, our renaissance is now, but the mix of contemporary needs for survival and inclusion into society is preventing many generations in certain parts to be left out. The freedom/bohemian feel that we can use to our advantage at our artistic peak is where a huge investment should be put to put people on the same level, before we move into architectural terms to unite our beautiful mix.

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I guess,

Saed

Dreamers

I know it can’t just be me out there who dreams, really. This entire generation has a big chunk of dreamers and hopeful professionals, and it’s absolutely refreshing after dealing with many who only speak negative things (not real, just negative).

I think our generation is going to be the most beneficial in a while, I really, honestly do. We grew up with the technology and are ushering in the Information age, yet there are many who still appreciate the spirituality and humanity in us, regardless of religion and beliefs; I think we believe more in humanity now than ever, and I think that people are wonderful things, and that our differences make us fit and help the world in one way or another. It’s impossible to have perfection, and the truth is, it is boring, and it will never be a goal. Change is constant, and a perfect balance is impossible; with every person changed, is a negative or positive being birthed as a reaction, and both sides serve the world in its constant growth.

How would we understand the pros if we did not experience the cons. Curiosity, trial, and error are the roots of all development, and there are always things that we do not know, that a negative side would show us. While I do believe sometimes these negatives are shown in order to push people to the other side on purpose (to create a controlled reaction), it all just goes to show how similar we are.

Nobody (with maybe a few exceptions, which could usually explained in one way or another) likes violence, violence is a bi-product of our primal instinct to fight for survival.

This really does explain why I am quite against parts of religious dogma, personally; I believe some sides of religion are humanly modified to create certain reactions, to force certain actions, and thus lead a mass to do and agree with a negative action. This is usually done with some cheap justification that appeals to the primal instinct of survival. That being said, there are always those who really make you see the good side of religion and how it was originally made to be a positive effect; sadly, not everyone is taught to consider the human logic behind ideas, but rather to follow; because it’s easier that way. A huge scale group loses its roots due to its need of fast expansion and its difficulty in control. i.e. The need to produce people who will carry on ideas overcomes the golden rule of consideration and respect.

But that aside, I think there is always hope in people, and I [surely, many people out there, too] think the world can be a positive place to be. There is just always a cycle of something bad happens causing for a good reaction, or a positive thing that gets pushed and abused until it becomes bad, such that a positive reaction is needed.

Sure it will be hard to change the world, but I believe that we are all born “good” (primal sure, but not evil; not knowingly hurting others in spite of another option that allows for a compensation, unless compensation means letting go of a huge part of oneself), and there are always things that push people to become “bad”, and those things in the long run (even if introduced later in a person’s life) make people forget who they once were. But we do need the “bad” to balance out the “good” and appreciate it. There is no “good” and “bad”, no “right” and “wrong”, but different perspectives trying to serve themselves to survive.

There are no obstacles between us and “success” but ourselves; there is no concrete reason to prevent changing a majority of people, unless people were implanted with the negativity for a long time, such that it becomes a second habit, and thus a comfortable place that prevents people from moving to other mental places and states.

…..

I just don’t see the world as a completely negative place, and I’m sure many others don’t either. Not by making news or something, but by personally delivering a positive message to others, rather than relying on a hasted, mass-produced method of spreading it. Human contact goes a long way, really, it’s how many ideas started, and then once the idea was merely passed around rather than understood and convinced to others, it begins to crumble.

 

Cheers,

WCH